With a little bit of time and a little over $100 in materials, we were able to completely transform the look and feel of our master bathroom. Goodbye builder-grade! Hello beautiful Italian spa (okay, that might be a stretch, but that’s what I’m telling myself it looks like).
And the best second best part? We have enough paint and primer leftover to finish TWO more bathrooms. I’m trying out new stencils in each of those and I can’t wait to get them done. If you’re curious about which stencil patterns we’re going to use or maybe you want to download the files to use yourself, you can download them at the bottom of this post!
I know what you’re thinking, “this all sounds great, but c’mon, do they actually hold up??” We have a one year review that gives you all the details! Oh, and we recently updated that review to include our 2-year update!
This project isn’t just for floors. Any tile works: backsplashes, fireplaces, shower walls, laundry room, etc!
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)!
- Paint rollers
- One large for covering the whole area quickly
- One smaller for edges and tight places
- One for edges and tight places
- One or two small brushes for touch-ups (I used old crafting paintbrushes that come in a variety pack at Michael’s)
What You’ll Need
- Painter’s tape
- Tarps (optional to cover toilets, carpet, cabinets, etc.)
- Primer – Behr Premium Concrete and Masonry Bonding Primer
- Paint for the base – Behr Premium Low-Lustre Enamel Porch & Patio Floor Paint in Ultra Pure White (standard color)
- Paint for the stencil – Behr Premium Low-Lustre Enamel Porch & Patio Floor Paint in Space Black (color mixed at Home Depot)
- Sealer – Varathane Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane
- Stencil(s) – I made my own from these stencil sheets. You can also find options on Amazon–this one is pretty similar to ours!
How to paint tile floors
Step 1: Select your stencil
The more stencils you have available, the quicker your project will go. It’ll also make it easier to work on those tiles that are oddly shaped around the edges of your room.
Since it’s easier to have more stencils, I recommend creating your own using these stencil sheets and a Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine. I created about 20 stencils for our floor.
If you want to make your own, but don’t want to create the pattern–great news! I have three different patterns available for you to download.
Step 2: Clean your tile.
Make sure to take this step seriously. You don’t want to end up with hair or dust on your floor forever. I would recommend vacuuming your floor with a nozzle attachment and then scrubbing it with Simple Green. Make sure to get it nice and clean, especially the grout!
step 3: Prep.
Prep your baseboards and anything non-removable (shower, tub, cabinets, toilet. You can also use tarps to cover things that like your cabinets and toilet to make sure you don’t accidentally get paint drips on them. If you have a lot of doors, you can remove them to keep them out of your way.
Sweep one more time. Better safe than sorry, right?
Note: if you are working with glossy tile, we’d recommend sanding first. You can also use this primer that has a great track record of adhering to glossy surfaces (tile included).
Step 4: Prime your tile.
Prime your floor using a concrete and masonry bonding primer. You can apply it however you find it easiest. I used a small roller to get all the edges and then a large roller to apply the rest quickly. Your primer might look somewhat bubbly when you first apply it, but that’s okay.
Step 5:Paint your base coat.
Paint your base coat using a porch and patio paint. You want to use a porch and patio paint because it’s very durable and mildew resistant. Follow the instructions on your paint can to determine how many coats you will need and how much time to wait between coats.
I first painted all of the grout lines using a brush and then used rollers for the base coat to cover the floor quickly.
Step 6: Stencil
It’s time to break out the stencil! Tape your stencil down to ensure it does not move. Go over the stencil several times with light coats of paint. I used a paint roller, but you can apply it however works best for you. If you keep your coats light, you should have less stencil bleeding.
Work your way around the room. Knock out all of the whole tiles first, then move on to the partial tiles.
Be strategic about where you start. Start in the back corner and work yourself out of the room. You don’t want to get halfway done and realized you are trapped!
I also opted to cut 20 stencils so that I would have plenty to cut, but if you’re working with just 1 or 2 stencils, you’ll have to get creative when doing the partial tiles.
Find all of the titles that use the stencil in the same direction then start with the largest. You can fold your stencil–you just have to be careful to keep it in the same place.
Step 7: Touch-up
When you peel off the stencils, don’t be discouraged. It’s normal for the lines to not be perfect. That’s why the next step is to touch-up the paint with a small paint brush.
This is the most time-consuming step, but it is so worth it. Look at the difference between one of my tiles before and after I touched it up!
Step 8: Seal the tiles
Seal the tiles with a paint roller using polyurethane. I would recommend a matte finish if you’re going for the cement tile look. We ended up accidentally picking up a satin finish. It’s easier to clean, but you can see your paint strokes more than you would with a matte finish.
This step is very important in the longevity of your tiles. Be sure to follow the instructions on the polyurethane can to a T. If it says 4 coats, that’s what you’ve gotta do!
Step 9: Remove the tape.
This is the best part. Your floor finally looks complete! I recommend using a utility knife to make sure that you don’t accidentally peel up your tile paint, but you can also carefully remove it by hand.
Enjoy, but be careful for the first few weeks and follow directions on your sealer. Usually, you won’t be able to clean using chemicals for the first 30 days.
You did it! Wasn’t that the most rewarding project?? You should be so proud of yourself for taking your home into your hands and making it something unique and beautiful! We’d love to celebrate with you! Send us your pictures or tag us on Instagram (@craftedbythehunts).
Have you found that the floor is more slippery if you step with wet shoes or wet feet? I have been wanting to paint my tile in my foyer but it it highly trafficked and we do get snow in the winter.
Hi Cynthia! The floors are slicker than the tile itself was before we painted. If you’re wearing socks, you can definitely slide on them, but it’s not slippery enough to be something I’ve ever really thought about since painting.
Amazing post. I made a mistake with the final step. There was no sealer. This weekend is going to be smelly. I need to repaint the floor in the kitchen. Thank you for the detailed post. It was very helpful.
How long after you painted the floors did you add the polyurethane?
Can you post photos of how the floors have held up so far?
Hi Caroline! You can find more information on how our floors have held up so far here. We update the post whenever we have something new to share! We only have a couple of small chips in the floor and they don’t really show up in photos unless you are really zoomed in on them
So excited to get started on this project for our master bathroom. I understand that you aren’t supposed to clean the floor with harsh chemicals for 3 months but are you able to use the bathroom? I’m installing a new vanity and would like to do that after the floors are painted but do I need to wait 3 months before doing anything else?
We started using ours the day after sealing it! We tried to be gentle on it, but you can use it 🙂
Awesome news, thank you!!
Do you think I need the primer and base coat if my tiles are already white? I just want to put the dark pattern on the existing white tiles, but I don’t know if that will really hurt the durability.
Hi Ana! Personally, I would probably still do the primer. It dries clear, so you might not need the base coat on top. I haven’t tried the paint without primer, so I can’t speak to how much durability it adds!
These tiles look amazing!!
I’m thinking about using my cricut to to cut the stencils. What material did you use for the stencils? Vinyl or something else?
Hi Nancy! We used mylar stencil sheets for ours! The vinyl route would require more cutting, but you also wouldn’t have to deal with nearly as much bleeding.
I’m not sure what to do with our floor. It is a digressing disaster due to the grout and the type of tile we used. The grout lines are huge. My husband assumed that the sealer would make it impenetrable…NOPE. We sealed it at the original install, but the grout has still been permeated by dirt. So we put a polyurethane type substance (like you would put on a garage floor) on, 4-5 coats. Now after 3 years the urethane is starting to peel off. To rip out the floor is not possible. Not to mention, I feel so bad because my husband worked so hard to put it in. What would you do if you were me. If you have a cell number, I could text you a few pics.
the stencil seems to be smaller than my tile. Is there anything i can do about the grout line ?
The ‘touch-up’…did you go over every tile by hand to touch it up?? Talk to me more about that piece of the project please.
Floors look great…BTW…
We did go over every single tile with a small paintbrush to make the lines nice and crisp, but that step is completely optional!
Do you paint over the grout? Does it peel off? or tape off grout?
Hi Lisa! You’ll paint right over the grout. We haven’t had any issues with it peeling off. The only place that the paint might not adhere is right around bathtubs or showers if non-paintable caulk was used.
Thank you so much for the great tutorial! I just completed part of my bathroom, and although it was a lot of work it turned out beautiful!
Brenda!! I’m so happy to hear you love how yours turned out!
These tiles look astounding!!
I’m considering utilizing my Cricut to cut the stencils. What material did you use for the stencils? Vinyl or something different?
Hi Stefan! The stencil sheets we used are linked in the gold box near the top of the post. Vinyl would be best to minimize bleeding, but you’d likely need to cut a lot of them!
I live in oregon where it RAINs. We have a small space between our patio and our chicken cage. I am tired of walking through the deep mud *( you sink in by about 4″. I was at a garage sale yesterday and got some big kitchen floor tiles at Floor Tiling Castle Hill ( about 12″ by 12″) Is there a way to put them outside in themud without them breaking?
Also years ago I started a patio collage with glass. It is in cement but I never grouted it 5 years ago + . It is a covered patio but does get wet. What kind of grout shouls I use? Thanks. I hope you get this still~
When you measure your tiles to create the stencil, do you measure the tile only or do you also include the width of the grout?
Great question! We tried to just measure the tile.
I want to paint tile floors in a beachfront condo. The humidity from ocean is very high and it takes a long time for regular wall paint to dry. I can allow extra drying time, but fear that it will never dry completely in that humidity. I don’t plan to use stencil. I just want to change the color of the tile from adobe “orange” to a neutral color. I appreciate any suggestions or advise you can give me.
I didn’t see you mention the type of tile you had. I think you may have ceramic and we have porcelain (a little shiny). Anyway, I bought the same products and the floor primer says to use an etching product. It said that after priming, you should be able to put a drop of water on it and it will soak in. That absolutely didn’t happen. I’ve only got 1 top coat of white on so far, but I’m a little paranoid now this process isn’t going to work for me. Any reassurance?
This floor turned out so beautiful. I love it!!! I am having our kitchen cabinets painted here in Columbia, SC and would love to do something like this to our tile after. Thanks for all the tips!
This turned out so amazing. I can’t believe what a big difference it made. We are making a list of home projects we want to do this summer here in Gridley, CA and I will have to add this one. Hopefully we can do some kitchen cabinet painting too. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing ideas
Hi, I was wondering how you went about the order of taping and painting of the tiles. Did you do every other tile first then then ones in between once the first are dry? I’m worried the tape will pull off the new paint of the tile beside it. If that makes sense? Also did you need to clean the stencil before using it a second time? Your floors look fab!
Thank you! That’s exactly what we did – we did every other tile and then went back once the surrounding tiles were dry. We didn’t press the tape on much at all. Just enough for the stencil to not move around a bunch. You could also try delicate surface tape (it’s the yellow one from Frogtape) or forgo the tape altogether and just hold the stencil in place with your hand. We looked at the bottom of our stencil before moving it around, but only wiped off the back when it had something on it. For the most part we didn’t have to wipe it off or clean it before using it again. Hope that helps!